A Little Quiz

by Shira

Test your knowledge of Middle Eastern dance, history, music, and culture with this quiz! If you've read (and memorized) my web site, The Art Of Middle Eastern Dance, from beginning to end, then you should get all but 1 of the 14 questions right! (One of the questions is not answered anywhere on my web site. For extra credit, can you guess which one?) Answers appear at the end.

_____ 1. The origin of the karsilama is from which culture?

a. Morocco
b. Turkey
c. Saidi
d. Lower Egypt

_____ 2. Which region does the term "khaleegy" refer to?

a. Turkey
b. Upper Egypt
c. North Africa
d. Arabian peninsula (Persian Gulf area)

_____ 3. What is a zurna?

a. A special kind of pot balanced on a dancer's head
b. A tasty dessert eaten in Eastern Mediterranean countries
c. A musical instrument
d. A party held in North Africa to celebrate a young woman's coming of age

_____ 4. Who was Ma'at?

a. A well-known dancer in Egypt in the 1940's
b. An Egyptian goddess
c. The wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten
d. A character featured in the story of Sinbad in 1001 Nights

_____ 5. Which of the following is not a rhythm used in Middle Eastern music?

a. Samai
b. Chiftetelli
c. Ayoub
d. Rebaba

_____ 6. Which cultural group does the guedra come from?

a. Tuareg "blue people"
b. Ghawazee
c. Fellahin
d. Romany (Gypsy)

_____ 7. Which of the following is a correct alternative name for the maqsoum rhythm?

a. Beledi
b. Masmoudi Saghir
c. Masmoudi Kebir
d. Saudi

_____ 8. What was the real name of the belly dancer who became famous as "Little Egypt" at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893?

a. Tahia Carioca
b. El Mahdeyya
c. Armen Ohanian
d. Fahreda Mahzar

_____ 9. Only one of the following dance techniques is likely to be used by a belly dancer in a typical Egyptian nightclub today. Which is it?

a. Balancing a sword on her head
b. Entering with a veil tucked into her costume, then removing it during a later part of her dance
c. Dancing with a cane
d. Floor work

_____ 10. Which of the following is not a musical instrument?

a. Kanoun
b. Ney
c. Saz
d. Hagallah

_____ 11. What are finger cymbals called in Egypt?

a. Sagat
b. Zills
c. Takht
d. Mizmar

_____ 12. Which of the following dance styles is native to Morocco?

a. Beledi
b. Schikhatt
c. Raqs Al Shamadan
d. Debke

_____ 13. Which of the following was a well-known female vocalist in Egypt?

a. Samia Gamal
b. Nagwa Fouad
c. Farid Al-Atrache
d. Um Kulthum

_____ 14. What is a maqam?

a. A type of musical instrument resembling a flute
b. The basic building block of Middle Eastern music
c. A variation on the hip lift movement
d. A traditional garment native to Eastern Turkey

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How Did You Do?

Here are the answers to the quiz questions. Give yourself one point for each correct answer, then score yourself as follows:

12-14 right: Pro! You're obviously very well informed about Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture. You could probably stump me by writing a quiz of your own!

9-11 right: Teacher! Good job! That's far better than what the typical performing belly dance professional in the United States is likely to get right! If you're not already teaching, maybe you should consider it--you can share a lot more than just movements.

6-8 right: Intermediate. Pretty good, but your knowledge is somewhat narrow. Try exploring the rest of this web site, as well as the links that appear below with the answers.

5 or less right: Beginner. Oops! You may be able to get up and dance, but you don't know much about Middle Eastern music or cultural heritage. Start your education today by exploring the rest of this web site.

Question 1: (b). The karsilama originated in Turkey. See the Glossary elsewhere on my web site for more information.

Question 2: (d). Khaleegy refers to the Persian Gulf area. In fact, the word khaleegy literally means "gulf". See the Glossary elsewhere on my web site for more information.

Question 3: (c). A zurna is a musical instrument that resembles a horn and makes a loud, ethnic sound. See the Glossary elsewhere on my web site for a photograph of a zurna.

Question 4: (b). Ma'at was the goddess of truth in the religion of ancient Egypt. See The Goddesses Of Ancient Egypt elsewhere on my web site for more information about Ma'at.

Question 5: (d). The rebaba is a musical instrument. Samai is a rhythm in 10/8 which appears in classical Arabic music. Chiftetelli is a rhythm that appears frequently in Turkish music. Ayoub is a 2/4 rhythm. For more information on these rhythms and how to play them, see Jas's Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ web site. To learn more about the rebaba, see the Glossary elsewhere on my web site.

Question 6: (a). The guedra is an ancient ritual practiced by a particular tribe of the Tuareg known as the "blue people" because of the blue color of their clothing and indigo dye stain on their skin. See the Guedra FAQ on the Belly Dance Home Page for more information.

Question 7: (b). Masmoudi Saghir is the only correct answer. If you thought "beledi" was also a possible answer, then you fell victim to a common bit of erroneous terminology often used in the United States--this rhythm is never called "beledi" in Egypt. If you didn't even know what a maqsoum sounds like, then look at my Glossary for more information, or check my Finger Cymbal Rhythms for Egyptian 4/4 Music page for an audio clip of maqsoum being played on the finger cymbals. It's a very frequently-used rhythm in a lot of Arabic music.

Question 8: (d). Fahreda Mahzar became very famous in the United States as "Little Egypt". Tahia Carioca was a famous Egyptian dancer during the 1940's, continuing through the 1960's. El Mahdeyya was a well-known dancer in Egypt during the early 1900's. Armen Ohanian was an Armenian dancer who moved to Paris and became famous during the 1920's. This is the question that's not answered anywhere else on my web site--did you guess correctly?

Question 9: (c). Dancing with a cane is the only one of these variations likely to be seen in Egypt. The cane dance, also known as raqs al assaya, originated in Upper Egypt. For more information about the cane dance, see the entry in my Glossary for Raks Al Assaya. Sword balancing and entering with a tucked veil are both practices that originated in the United States. Although floor work originated in the Middle East, it is no longer practiced in Egypt today because a law was passed against it during the 1950's. To learn more about which dance moves are typical of U.S. dance versus Egyptian, see my article titled Styles Of Belly Dance In The United States.

Question 10: (d). The hagallah is a type of dance. See my Glossary for photos of the kanoun, ney, and saz.

Question 11: (a). Finger cymbals are called sagat (or zagat) in Egypt, and zills (or zils) in Turkey. A takht is a small ensemble of musicians, often just 2 or 3. The mizmar is a musical instrument that resembles a zurna. All these words are defined in my Glossary.

Question 12: (b). The schikhat is native to Morocco. Beledi and Raqs Al Shamadan (candelabrum dance) are native to Egypt. The debke is a folk dance native to Lebanon. All these terms appear online in my Glossary.

Question 13: (d). Um Kulthum was a very famous female vocalist in Egypt, starting in 1928. She remained very popular throughout the ensuing decades, continuing to produce hit songs even in the 1960's. She died in 1975. To learn more about Um Kulthum, see the Al Mashriq web site. English-language translations for three songs made famous by Um Kulthum appear on the Song Lyrics section of my web site. Samia Gamal and Nagwa Fouad were both famous dancers in Egypt. Farid Al-Atrache was a famous male vocalist!

Question 14: (b). Just as a scale is the basic building block of Western music, a maqam is the basic building block for Middle Eastern music. In addition to being built around a scale of certain notes, additional components that define a particular maqam include a prevailing tendency of movement, important notes upon which melodies in that maqam tend to rest, and characteristic modulations to other maqamat. See my Glossary for more information on the maqam.

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